You're out for a night on the town, and the heat and humidity have taken their toll on your freshly CHI'd hair.
The Straight Up "hair straightener" vending machine has arrived, thanks to Scottish entrepreneurs Neil Mackay and Richard Starrett, founders of Beautiful Vending. These machines have popped up in more than 700 clubs, bars, gyms and shopping centers around the United Kingdom, with interest coming in from New York to New Zealand. They hope to enter the U.S. market later this year.
"We spend billions on looking good, not to mention the endless hours that are invested in striving for perfection, only to be inevitably frustrated as soon as we step outside," Mackay says. "Rain, wind, heat, humidity, or even our daily routines, can cause perfectly styled hair to 'frizz' and ruin the best night or day out."
The wall-mounted hair straightening flat irons cost $2 for 90 seconds. They can be used to straighten or curl the hair.
Mackay says the units are hygienic because of their high temperatures -- up to 200 degrees.
"They couldn't be any more bacteria-free," he says.
The machines recently won the Best Grooming Gear award in Wallpaper magazine's international design awards.
Mackay, whose résumé includes putting on large concerts as well as work in the beauty industry, says they got the idea for Straight Up from female friends.
"They were always complaining about what happens when you dance in the nightclub, or the humidity attacks your hair," he says. "We were aware that you couldn't really take a flat iron out with you. So we thought it would be great to have some form of vending machine that would service this demand."
New York-based celebrity image consultant Samantha von Sperling believes they will be a big hit in the United States. Although von Sperling has curly hair -- and believes it's best to work with nature -- many people with wavy and curly hair like to smooth out their hair for a change of pace.
"My job is to make people look their best and put their best foot forward," von Sperling says. "For those of us who tend to frizz up when we sweat, the curl becomes less and less glamorous. Many people will be relieved to be able to straighten their locks."
Von Sperling believes the Straight Up vending machines will do especially well in cosmopolitan cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
"I think it's a fabulous idea -- a brilliant idea -- and I'm all for it," she says